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An Unconventional Management Lesson From the NBA

Here’s an unconventional lesson from the NBA. Flashback to February 2018: it's four months before the Cleveland Cavaliers would face the Golden State Warriors in the NBA finals for a second straight year, but right now the Cavs are struggling. For the good of the organization, Head Coach Tyronn Lue is facing a difficult management decision: he’s desperate for more wins - little is more important right now - but a critical team member needs to sit down due to injury. Now Lue is no stranger to difficult decisions, especially public ones. He's in his third season as the Cavalier’s head coach - has 22 seasons’ experience as an assistant coach in the NBA including 4 as a Head Coach with the Hawks and the...

Tips For Conquering Your Post-Startup

Conquering the Post StartUp
It can be an uncomfortable zone: you’re not really a start-up any more, but there is so much runway in front of you that it’s difficult to picture being anything but. Still, you’re beginning to manage less product and service development and instead managing what feels to be an endless list of open “to-do” items for you and your team. Congrats. That’s one of the first signs that you’ve reached the growth stage. You have a product or service that your existing customers love and a market that wants what you have to offer. You’re operation is “stable” and there is every indication that you’re meeting customer demands. Now it’s time to shift your focus to formalizing the business – getting the right tools, people,...

Reputation at Risk? How to Deal With Bad Online Reviews From Job Applicants

Reputation Risk
As a Senior Manager or Business Owner, you’re likely already familiar with the impact social media has on influence marketing. Literally billions of dollars have been spent promoting an organizational voice, establishing relationships with target markets, and heralding brand identities. Because your reputation is always at risk. When it comes to individual user experiences and interactions – social media has proven useful in establishing the performance and credibility from positive reviews. Unfortunately, the reverse is also true. Your organizational identity can suffer from online reviews if the comments posted are negative criticism from those who have an otherwise dissatisfying experience with your organization. Just typing that sentence reminded me of one my favorite examples – and while this story involving a customer is often easily...

Use a Product Roadmap to Avoid “Next Version” Sales Paralysis

Product Roadmap

Have you ever experienced “next version” sales paralysis? It’s the situation where your sales team holds back on trying to convert new leads or close sales already in the pipeline because the team knows that a new version of your software is close to release. It’s frustrating, but using a product roadmap can help you break the paralysis. Do You Publish a Product Roadmap? Every product manager has an idea of where product development is going. If you’re just transitioning from the start-up business stage, you may be just starting to formalize a product roadmap. If you are in a mature business, you probably have several iterations of your product roadmap. Regardless of where your company is in terms of longevity, you’ll find a roadmap…

Business Partnerships: How Conflicting Cultures Can Hamper Success

Ketchup & Pancakes

One of the enjoyable components of advising organizations is observing meetings. Unfortunately, some of the most painful experiences occur there as well. This morning was more the later. Regrouping in the breakroom, I filled my coffee cup as Phil boiled water for tea. “Thoughts?” I asked. “Ketchup and pancakes,” he replied. I couldn’t have agreed more. We know that some things are simply compimentary – like ketchup on a plain hot dog and bun – or pancakes and… well pretty much any other breakfast item. But despite their favorable complimentary qualities, when combined, it makes for a pretty disgusting breakfast. We Can’t Emphasize Values Enough Like individuals, organizations have certain values that dictate their direction and success. When compatible organizations work together, it’s like adding…

Why Training Your New Employees is Harder Than You Expect

Training New Employees

Scenario 1: A parcel delivery company seasonally brings on extra staff to handle heavy traffic. At the depot, parcels are scanned and sorted by hand, ready to be taken by delivery drivers. New staff in the depot are given a basic orientation and shown how to use their scanner. The supervisor who is training them emphasises repeatedly how easy the job is. At the end of his talk, he asks “Has everyone got that?” Everyone nods. They have just been told that it is easy, and have been given a half-hour talk. They know exactly what to do. But over the course of the shift, problems arise. Some parcels aren’t recognised by the scanner. Badly wrapped parcels fall apart. Some new staff decide on their…

Making Goals and Objectives Work for You

When talking about business strategies, commentators often talk about goals, and occasionally mention objectives. These terms are, however, usually not clearly defined and very seldom is there a solid hierarchy or discernable relationship between them. In some cases they are used interchangeably. Unfortunately, the use of these terms in other fields and endeavors (like behavior and coaching) often results in understandable confusion. There are real reasons to use each of these concepts to serve specific and distinct functions in support of business strategy and you can build a stronger and more useful strategy by allowing them to satisfy different roles. Goals In my experience; a business or strategic goal should be a general statement of intent that is broad, relatively undefined but expresses the vision…

8 Strategies for Remote Leadership

In a speech in January of 1977, the Twelfth President of the Mormon Church; Spencer W. Kimball said that “The leaven of true leadership cannot lift others unless we are with and serve those to be led.” Among other things; he was talking about the criticality of being face-to-face with the people you lead to be able to offer them the best possible leadership. History tells us that he was right for the thousand years prior to this speech, but the avenues of leadership were opening up even as he was speaking Our bookshelves are replete with stories of leaders who ruled over vast empires (both political and corporate) effectively exerting influence over a huge number of people. In almost every case, however, the leader…

Tools to Help You Succeed Working with a Remote Team

If you currently manage a remote team, you’re probably aware of the challenges that come with managing workers scattered across different time zones and geographic locations. This disconnect has also made it harder to find and retain talented people. As workers and workforces have made a move towards location-independence, technology has followed suit. In recent years, many new tools have been developed to help companies more effectively manage remote and freelance teams. These tools also improve communication between teams, making both employers and workers happier. Here are six tools you can use to successfully manage your mobile workforce: Slack Businesses with good communication practices experience a 50 percent lower turnover rate than other companies, even within the same industry. That makes good communication the most…

Leadership Lessons in Presenting an Oscar

Those of you who do not closely follow current culture, (or who may have spent the last weeks on a remote island somewhere) may not have heard that there was an incident at this year’s Academy Awards ceremony where the prize for the Best Picture was initially presented to the wrong team. According to news reports, the envelope for Best Actress was mistakenly given to the presenters by one of the two accountants from PricewaterhouseCoopers (now known as PwC) rather than the correct envelope. As a result, the Oscar for Best Picture was given to the team from La La Land rather than to the correct picture; Moonlight. Disbelief and dismay followed when the mistake was corrected after a significant delay. This is, of course,…

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